The first eighteen years of my life were spent on a Georgia farm. The back side of our property was covered with swampland―complete with alligators, rattlesnakes, wild hogs, deer, doves, quail, and the best fishing a man could ask for. The rest of the farm was made up of pastures and land we cultivated, growing corn, peanuts, and cotton.
Our food source was the livestock and vegetables we raised; we had the best vegetable garden there ever was. We also relied on wild game and fish we caught. My father trapped beaver, raccoon, and otter for income in the winter months, and when I was born, he paid the doctor for bringing me into the world with pelt money.
It is a classic understatement to say that it required a hell of a lot of hard labor to keep all this going; and my old man figured that his oldest son was put on this earth for that very purpose. He also figured that sitting down at his supper table and having clean clothes to wear was all the pay a boy needed.
Life was hard on the farm, and it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that I got the hell away from there as soon as I finished high school. I was educated to become an architect, but after three boring and frustrating years of sitting behind a drawing board as an architectural apprentice, I finally realized that wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my life. I didn’t want to just draw and design things―I wanted to build things… So, I did.
The rest of my career has been spent in and around the rough and tumble world of building construction―one of the few businesses in the world where you bet the whole pot every time you sit down at the table, and there ain’t no safety net. I got rich a few times and went broke more than once, but most importantly, I met a lot of interesting people along the way…..and I survived to tell about it.
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― E. P. Vaughn